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How end-of-life home care services are used from admission to death: a population-based cohort study


Aim — Our goal was to describe the trajectories of end-of-life nursing and personal support worker (PSW) use from home care admission until death.

Methods — We studied a historical prospective cohort of end-of-life home care patients in Ontario, Canada, linking administrative databases. We calculated the odds of using any nursing or PSW hours and the incidence rate ratio of services used for each week approaching death, controlling for confounders.

Results — Among all patients (n = 11,867), the odds of using any nursing and PSW hours increased by 4 percent and 10 percent, respectively, each week closer to death. Among patients using services, the ratio of nursing and PSW hours increased 20 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in the last 4 weeks of life compared to use at 24 weeks before death.

Conclusion — Use of nursing and PSW hours increases slightly each week before death and sharply in the last month of life. Understanding the trajectory of home care services use can help decision makers design better end-of-life care.



Seow H, Barbera L, Howell D, Dy SM. J Palliat Care. 2010; 26(4):270-8.

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